*Trigger warning for baby loss, and some graphic descriptions. I wrote the below post about a week and a half ago but didn’t feel quite ready to publish it then. Now I feel in a much better place mentally but I want to acknowledge the emotions that I felt then by posting this. If you’ve ever felt this way, or you feel this way right now, please know that you are not alone. Reach out to someone; to a friend, family member, a health care professional, anyone you feel comfortable speaking to. In my experience it has often felt easier to talk to strangers, so please feel free to send me a message at any time if you’d like to chat. I can’t promise to make it any easier, but I have so much empathy for all of these thoughts and feelings, and I feel so much pain for every single women who has ever experienced miscarriage and baby loss*
Three Weeks On
I’m not an easy person to be around right now, and I know that but there’s not much I can do. I have no time for small talk, I’m not interested in chatting about the weather, I can’t remember the last time I watched TV. I’m having difficulty concentrating, and I have to regularly pull myself back every time my mind wanders off from the current conversation. It has been 3 weeks since I found out I’d had a missed miscarriage, and 2 weeks and 2 days since all of that physical trauma that my miscarriage caused. Although I’m feeling much better physically, fine even, my brain and my heart are taking a little longer to catch up.
Mostly I’m okay, but there are still triggers throughout every day life that stop me in my tracks. I don’t use the word trigger lightly, and it’s something that I now know I never truly understood before. I expected to feel a pang of sadness every time I saw a baby bump or spotted a newborn baby, I expected to cry as I packed away the few baby things we had already bought. What I didn’t expect, and what nothing could’ve prepared me for, are the feelings I get from the strangest of things. Like when red paint drips onto white paper, just like the blood that dripped from me in to the white toilet bowl. Like when I sit on that very toilet, and look down at the (now clean) bath mat that I know was once covered in my blood. Or when Dil scribbles red pen into his colouring book, and it begins to look just like the pads I spent two weeks staring at while I waited for the bleeding to stop. It gives me a feeling I’ve never actually felt before. It makes me immediately stop. It makes me miss a breath, it makes my heart start to beat faster. I’ve experienced some real flashbacks for the first time ever, and it takes me straight back to all of those moments. They flash before my eyes and feel so real, like I’m right back there again and I can’t make it stop.
When people first started saying that miscarriage was a taboo I didn’t really get it. I’ve seen people discuss baby loss on social media often. But now I realise what is taboo. Here I am, 2-3 weeks on from it all and I feel like society is ready for me to move on. I feel guilty for “going on about it” the way that I have. I feel a whole lot of pressure to draw a line, be ‘over it’, move forward, shut up and just be okay. People still ask me how I am, but not in a way that they really mean. Not in a way that makes you feel like you could answer with anything other than “yeah I’m good thanks, you?”.
What I Need After My Miscarriage
I’d feel like an absolute fraud writing a post about ‘Things to say/not say to someone who’s just had a miscarriage’. I know that everyone grieves differently, and what brings comfort or offends me will not be the same for someone else. I don’t wish to generalise, or to fit all of this grief into a few bullet points. I can only share what I feel I need, what is helping me survive, and what my own grief feels like.
To Talk it Through
What makes me feel better, what I need to do, is to talk. I don’t want to talk about Eastenders or the weather, I want to talk about the baby that I lost. I want to talk about the hopes and dreams that I already had for him/her, and how it feels to have them ripped away. I want to talk about my experience, and how totally ridiculous the phrase ‘silent miscarriage’ seems to me. I want to talk about how awful the process was, and how hideously unfair the whole thing felt after what we were already going through. I want to talk about how I was so unprepared for all of that blood. I want to shout from the rooftops, I want to run down the aisle in Tesco screaming. I miscarried, and the baby I already loved will never be.
What I want is for people to ask me how I am in a way that lets me know they mean it. I want people to say “how are you really though” even when I say that I’m okay. I want people to put an arm around me, serve me a warm cup of sugary tea and tell me to let it out. I want to talk and cry and share every detail with someone who really wants to listen.
To Feel No Pressure to Reply
I also want people to understand that there are times when I don’t want to talk quite as openly, and I am finding it especially difficult over text. What I would prefer is for someone to let me know that they are thinking of me, in a very genuine way, with absolutely no pressure to respond. Sometimes I don’t want to sit and type out how absolutely miserable I’m feeling, how awful this month has been, but having people send their love is a great comfort. It has been so nice to know that we were in people’s thoughts over the last few weeks, and often people have messaged and specifically stated I needn’t worry about replying which has made me feel a lot better.
For People to Reach Out
More than anything it is love and support that has got me through this, and I’ve actually been overwhelmed by it all. I wish that everyone who has experienced loss had the privilege of the outlet that I do, and were lucky enough to feel a part of a community like mine.
A little closer to home though I have been surprised by some of the silence I’ve encountered. Even my own family seem to struggle to actually bring it up. I totally appreciate that it’s a difficult subject for many. Some may be affected by their own losses, and some may truly have no idea what to say. I’m sure there is no malice in their silence, and I know it can be hard to randomly reach out or mention it.
The only piece of advice I could give to someone who’s loved one has experienced miscarriage or baby loss is just to try. To send a message with no expectations of lengthy replies, to reach out in whatever way feels right to you. Send a card or flowers, send a short text, send a humorous gif or a potato in a box (that is a thing, I’ve sent Adam one before). Whatever feels right for you and the type of relationship you have with that person – do that. Even if you hardly know them I’d urge you to reach out if you feel like you want to and you can, because it really could bring them a huge amount of comfort that they may desperately need.